I’m getting all my plans finalized for this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which starts on January 17th. As always, my schedule is packed as I plan to see as many movies as I possibly can before I either burn out or simply run out of caffeine.
As is usually the case, I find myself staring at the schedule and reeling at the endless possibilities. Do I really want to see that movie? Don’t I want to see that one at a public screening so I can attend the Q&A session? Crap, do I really have enough time for that Q&A or do I have to hurry along to my next movie?
Sundance covers 11 days. Nine of those days are chock-full of movies. Opening night only has four films picked to open the festival, and the last day is all about the awards and their respective banquets, but those nine days in the middle are a filmaholic’s dream.
Before the festival begins, I find myself trying to cram in as many films as humanly possible. Eating and sleeping can wait; this only comes once a year. However, I inevitably bite off more than I can chew and have to pare down my list accordingly.
As of right now, I have 38 films tentatively planned. Because of scheduling conflicts, late buses and possible starvation, this schedule is sure to change. However, if past years are any indication, about 75% of this plan will stay the same. If I end up seeing 38 films, that will be a personal record for me at the festival. Last year I saw around 30.
I try to squeeze in as many public screenings as I can. Press members are allowed to request up to two tickets to public screenings per day. (Note: The 9:00 AM screenings don’t count toward this total.) Public screenings are certainly my preference. Press screenings are full of industry folks who only end up watching about 10-20 minutes of any given movie and then walking out. They’re also constantly on their phones, which is irritating to no end. But the real reason why attending public screenings are so fun is that the directors usually show up with most of their casts. It’s one of the rare times that the moviegoing public can directly interact with filmmakers right after seeing a movie. Sure, there are always some stupid questions, but on the whole, the Q&A sessions are totally worth it.
Jan. 17 (Opening Night)
9:00 AM – ‘The East‘ (Public screening)
11:30 AM – ‘We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks‘
2:30 PM – ‘Prince Avalanche‘
6:30 PM – ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints‘ (Public screening)
9:30 PM – ‘Computer Chess‘ (Public screening)
As you can see, my schedule is unquestionably stuffed. There’s also some room to add more films since the press office still has yet to schedule press screenings for the 24th and 25th. Those days are usually reserved to re-show some of the more popular movies that get buzz earlier in the week. When the schedule gets updated, I’ll be able to catch up on some films that I may have missed.
It’s going to be a crazy year up at the festival, but since Luke isn’t attending this year (he just told me about his decision to not go, which makes me sad), I’ll cover as much stuff as I possibly can. I hope you’ll join me. It’s always fun conversing with HDD readers while I’m up there in Park City. Remember to follow me on Twitter @AaronPeck for up-to-the-minute updates, and keep a look out for my day-by-day journals on the High-Def Digest homepage.